AK: Foster care bill tells the state to never give up on finding families for kids
Alaska Dispatch News – April 10, 2016
Rep. Les Gara, a Democrat from Anchorage, is once again pushing foster care reforms to change that. And he’s again teamed up with Amanda Metivier, a former foster child turned reformer — and foster parent. Gara’s legislation, House Bill 27, cleared the Republican-controlled state House 37 to 0. With about a week to go in the regular legislative session, the bill is set for a committee hearing in the Senate on Monday.

AR: Lawmakers return to Capitol, with focus on budget 
Associated Press – April 10, 2016
Hutchinson has proposed a $5.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, with a $142.7 million increase in state spending. The state’s Medicaid program would receive $88 million of that, and $20.4 million would go toward the state’s child welfare programs.

AR: When Religious Groups Do What the Government Won’t
The Atlantic – April 08, 2016
About half the parents who foster or adopt kids in Arkansas have been recruited through The Call, a nonprofit that tries to mobilize Christian families to adopt or foster children in Arkansas.

AZ: Foster parents quitting; families urge DCS to focus on retaining families (Includes video)
ABC 15 – April 08, 2016
As social service workers focus on recruiting new families to address Arizona’s foster kid crisis, an astounding number of existing families are quitting the foster system.

CA: State to expand paid family leave for new parents
Reuters – April 08, 2016
California will increase the amount of money new parents can receive through the state’s paid family leave program under a bill to be signed on Monday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, his office said Friday.

CA: The Impact of Extended Foster Care: Preliminary Findings of the CalYOUTH Study
Chronicle of Social Change – April 07, 2016
CalYOUTH is a five-year research project looking at the impact of the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, a California law known as AB 12 that extended foster care to age 21 and took effect in 2012. The study examines outcomes during the transition to adulthood for foster youth and will conclude in 2017. Information Gateway Resource: https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/resources/caregivers/

CO: Pot-in-schools debate returns to Colorado
Associated Press – April 11, 2016
The possibility of medical marijuana in schools raises a number of questions for school officials. The law currently says that the drug must be in non-smokeable form and is to be administered by a school nurse or a caregiver, likely a parent. But those school nurses are also required to report to authorities any child who is exposed to an illegal drug, including marijuana-derived treatments. That happened to the Wann family of Highlands Ranch, which got a call from Child Protective Services last year because their epileptic 8th grader uses a cannabis-derived treatment. Amber Wann said her son doesn’t take the oil at school, but the district reported the family as possible child abusers, despite last year’s law clarifying that schools may allow marijuana treatment.

CT: State aims to end court monitoring
Greenwich Time – April 10, 2016
A quarter-century has passed since the settlement of a landmark federal lawsuit aimed at forcing Connecticut to take better care of its abused and neglected children.

CT: State Rolls Out Program to Improve Child Welfare Services
NBC Connecticut – April 08, 2016
The state Department of Children and Families is launching a new program aimed at improving child welfare services in Connecticut and they will be announcing what it entails today. The announcement comes during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Also: New child abuse prevention guide focuses on very young: http://wtnh.com/2016/04/08/new-child-abuse-prevention-guide-focuses-on-very-young/

FL: DCF Under Fire Over LGBT Rule Change
News Service of Florida – April 08, 2016
Last fall, when DCF Secretary Mike Carroll approved provisions protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, advocates celebrated. At that point, the draft rule banned staffers at group homes from”(a)ttempt(ing) to change or discourage a child’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.” However, that language was opposed by the Florida Baptist Children’s Home and the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, and by late January, it was gone. Also: Florida backtracks on new guidelines for LGBT foster children: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-backtracks-on-new-guidelines-for-lgbt-foster-children/2272531

FL: Spike in Fla. foster care numbers causes concern (Incudes video)
NBC 2 – April 08, 2016
NBC2 has discovered in just the last five months, 331 children have been taken from their parents in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, a 17% spike.

HI: Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month Recognized by Children’s Justice Centers
Big Island Now – April 08, 2016
In recognition of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, Children’s Justice Centers across the state are participating in a variety of activities during the month of April, including three events on the Big Island. According to Hawai’i Children’s Justice Centers, over 50 percent of reported victims of crime throughout the state are under the age of 18. In addition, research provided by the centers indicate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before they are 18.

IL: DCFS director visits children’s shelter, worries for funding (Includes video)
WPSD – April 08, 2016
Children staying in foster care or shelters are often separated from their brothers and sisters, but a local Illinois shelter fights to keep them together. Visiting the Night’s Shield in West Frankfort on Friday, Illinois Director of the Department of Child and Family Services George Sheldon said he?s concerned about its future and the future of others like it in the state.

MN: The need is urgent: Invest in our abused and neglected children (Opinion)
MinnPost – April 08, 2016
Here are some startling statistics that illustrate how child abuse has become an urgent health crisis: in 2014, deaths from child abuse and neglect exceeded deaths caused by childhood cancers. Nationally, 700,000 children were victims of child maltreatment in 2014, and Minnesota counties reported 70,000 cases of abuse and neglect that same year.

MS: Video: Legal Expert Breaks Down HB 1523, Pt. 2
WCBI – April 08, 2016
“State government shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization. So we’re still talking about religious organizations, as it relates to adoption or foster care,” said Spruill. Pt. 1: http://www.wcbi.com/local-news/video-legal-expert-breaks-out-hb-1523-pt-1/

MT: Missoulian editorial: Focus on prevention to stop child abuse, neglect
The Missoulian – April 10, 2016
In Missoula, the number of child abuse and neglect cases jumped from 110 cases filed with the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in 2013 to 173 cases in 2015. County Attorney Kirsten Pabst noted “a direct correlation between meth and child abuse and neglect and serious domestic abuse cases,” and subsequently increased the number of civil division attorneys handling child abuse cases to three.

NY: Senate Democrats to push bill to help child sex abuse victims seek justice against predators, public institutions
New York Daily News – April 10, 2016
State Senate Democrats are introducing a bill that would not only eliminate the time limits for child sex abuse victims to bring criminal or civil cases, but also make it easier for them to sue public institutions like schools, the Daily News has learned.

PA: Advocacy Center raising awareness of child abuse
The Lebanon Reporter – April 08, 2016
Sixty-eight pinwheels whirl in the wind outside the Boone County Child Advocacy Center on East Washington Street in Lebanon this month, representing the number of child abuse cases so far investigated there, in observation of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

PA: State seeing more heroin-addicted babies, abused children of addicted parents
Penn Live – April 08, 2016
A group of child welfare advocates is asking Pennsylvania leaders for a task force to address issues including ensuring proper care for babies born addicted to drugs including heroin, and protecting children being raised by addicted parents.

TX: Caseworkers, Kids Trapped in Collapsing Foster System
Texas Tribune – April 10, 2016
The Texas foster care system in which Hernandez works has been giving off increasingly desperate distress signals for months. Officials are scrambling to find homes for an influx of traumatized children, sometimes having them sleep in state office buildings or parking them in psychiatric hospitals. A recent federal court ruling condemned the state’s long-term foster care as an inhumane institution in which children “often age out of care more damaged than when they entered.”

TX: Report: Teen charged with killing Austin student was abused in foster care 
Palm Beach Post – April 08, 2016
The 17-year-old runaway charged with murder in the homicide of University of Texas student Haruka Weiser described an unstable childhood in which he was a victim of violence while in the state’s foster care system, according to a 2014 profile published in a Texarkana high school student newspaper. Also: Foster child accused of murder while state system is in the courts: http://kxan.com/2016/04/10/child-protective-services-questioned-after-ut-homicide/

WI: Gov. Scott Walker’s budget to include $29 million for mental health
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – April 08, 2016
In the wake of recent mass shootings in Wisconsin and elsewhere nationally, Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday proposed nearly $29 million more in state money for treating mental illness – a move that could have a big impact on efforts to update Milwaukee County’s outdated system of care.

US: Details of state legislation seeking religious protections
Associated Press – April 10, 2016
While some are narrowly tailored to protect clergy, others are written more broadly, potentially applying to an array of businesses. Some bills already have been sent to governors while others are pending in the legislature. A few already have failed to pass before legislative sessions ended.

US: Conservative groups try to strike down Indian Child Welfare Act
Indianz – April 08, 2016
The battle is largely taking place in the courts. The Goldwater Institute of Arizona, for example, is seeking class action status for a lawsuit that claims ICWA violates the U.S. Constitution because, in the views of conservatives, it only applies to one “race” — Indian children. Also: Why A Conservative Legal Organization Is Desperately Trying To Kill The Indian Child Welfare Act: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/04/08/3754462/indian-child-welfare-act-case-goldwater/

US: Good Riddance to Term ‘Child Prostitute’ (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – April 08, 2016
As a children’s social worker I believe the term “child prostitute” is inaccurate, misleading and should be removed from the conversation when discussing issues of sexually trafficked children. Thankfully the Associated Press now agrees. Information Gateway Resource: Child Welfare and Human Trafficking: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/trafficking.pdf

US: Poverty’s Link to Foster Care Removals? It’s in The Eyes Of The Workers (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – April 08, 2016
In his recent post about financing child welfare, Sean Hughes implied that it is an exaggeration to say that children are removed from their families solely due to poverty. I suppose that depends on what one means by “due to poverty.”

US: Protect Foster Parents from Unwarranted Allegations (Opinion)
Chronicle of Social Change – April 08, 2016
A major reason that many foster parents quit is the way our welfare systems handle allegations against them.

US: When to Seek Out a Pediatric Social Worker – Q&A with an Expert
Huffington Post – April 08, 2016
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Liz Disterhoft & ask her a whole bunch of questions about the field of social work. Liz received her MSW from Simmons School of Social Work, & she has been working as a social worker in community health for eight years. She is currently a social worker at a unique pediatric practice that utilizes a team-based approach to care. This experience made her the perfect person to talk to about concerns that many parents have regarding their children & social work services.

US: How Air Pollution Affects Babies Before They’re Born
Mother Jones – March 30, 2016
Air pollution leads to a whopping 16,000 premature births every year and costs the nation billions of dollars in medical costs and lost productivity, according to a study published Tuesday in Environmental Health Perspectives. This is the first study to estimate the number of preterm births due to air pollution, adding to a growing body of evidence linking air pollution to myriad health problems, from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses to endocrine disruption and dementia.


Australia: Early start making a big difference in child protection 
Brisbane Times – April 09, 2016
Child protection experts are cutting the need for children and teenagers to be removed from their families.

Canada: Open adoptions in Alberta hindered by online profile ban, say potential parents
CBC News – February 04, 2016
Birth moms can’t see web profiles of potential Alberta parents like they can in other provinces.

International: Outcomes for Orphans in Low- and Middle-Income Countries Consistent, Regardless of Care Setting 
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – April 08, 2016
Several prominent studies, mainly focused on very young children in European countries, have suggested that institutional care in a group home is more damaging to children than family-based or foster care. As a result, institutional care is often viewed as an option of last resort. The Positive Outcomes for Orphans (POFO) study explored individual, family, community, and structural factors that influence positive outcomes for orphaned and abandoned children.

Uganda: Cleveland pastor and his family create a family restoration center in Uganda
Chattanooga Times Free Press – April 09, 2016
On March 9, after an emotional send-off from family and friends, Bucky and Julie Rogers boarded a plane with 15 suitcases containing everything they owned. The next day, they landed in an African country that would become their permanent home — Uganda.